NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It wasn't pretty, but Vanderbilt moved to 3-0 in the SEC with a 77-66 victory over Georgia on Saturday afternoon inside Memorial Gym. The game was a grueling contest throughout, with the Bulldogs battling back from 6-point deficits on several occasions before the Commodores used a 7-0 run in the game's final minute to seal the victory.
The Commodores got to the foul line early and often but were terrible shooting, converting on only 30-of-44 attempts.
However, senior Lance Goulbourne, freshman Dai-Jon Parker and junior John Jenkins converted on six straight free throws to extend the Commodores lead from four to ten and the Bulldogs missed on several desperate three-point tries on the end to close out the game.
Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led all scorers with 19 points and his shooting from the perimeter caused problems for Vanderbilt's recently improved defense. The true freshman hit four three's, including three in the second half to mount a couple of comebacks. His second three of the half gave Georgia a brief 45-44 lead with under 14 minutes to go, but that was answered a few moments later by a running reverse layup by Dai-Jon Parker.
Vanderbilt never trailed again.
John Jenkins led the Commodores in scoring with 18 points despite having a off-night from behind the arc. The Gallatin native was just 3-of-11 from three.
Senior Jeffery Taylor struggled the most from the charity stripe, converting on just 7-of-13 attempts, but finished with 16 points. Charged with defending players like Caldwell-Pope and occasionally Dustin Ware, Taylor finished with nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Lance Goulbourne was the third Commodore to finish in double-figures, adding 13 points. He also grabbed six boards.
Nashville native Gerald Robinson added 15 points for Georgia, but struggled with five turnovers and only converted on 4-of-13 attempts from the field. Sophomore forward Donte Williams was the surprise of the game with 12 points, including eight in the games first 10 minutes, but fouled out with two minutes to go in the contest.
Vanderbilt won the rebound battle 33-23 and committed just 11 turnovers, a few under its season average.
The Commodores, now at 13-4 on the season, will head to Tuscaloosa on Thursday for an important contest with fellow league contender Alabama.